The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Time is money

Illustration by Nikki Winstead
Illustration by Nikki Winstead

A new, provocative trend is popping up for colleges across the United States. Instead of taking on a typical student job, like bartending that pays a minimum wage plus tips, young people are turning to other sources to pay for their college education. Sources like Seek­ is an online dating site that matches young, ambitious “sugar babies”—typically women—with a successful and gener­ous “sugar daddy” or “sugar momma,” an older person who will offer financial help or gifts in exchange for companionship or friendship.

It’s a prospect many college students may find appealing. With the country fac­ing an economic downturn and tuition on the rise, many college students are look­ing for alternative ways to pay for their educations that don’t include grants and loans, according to a report written by The Project on Student Debt. After all, if a student does take out loans, the difficult job market does not guarantee a salary high enough to repay student loan debt, says the report.

That is where sugar daddies come in.

“They see something special in these young people and want to help them suc­ceed,” says Angela Jacob Bermudo, public relations manager for SeekingArrange­

Whether this type of relationship is healthy is a difficult judgment to make, says Grace Austin, a psychology professor at Sacramento City College.

“For the older man [this relation­ship] could be perceived as being able to help the younger generation,” says Austin. “Potentially unhealthy, poten­tially healthy, it’s hard to say. There’s not a right answer.”

According to Bermudo, many of these men are not simply seeking sex in return for money and gifts. Rather, she says, these men are looking for someone who is interested in them and wants to listen. In return they provide gifts, mentorship and financial assistance to a young woman in whom they see potential and wish to aid in the achievement of her goals.

“What a lot of sugar daddies do is open up opportunities,” says Bermudo.

According to their recent annual report, saw a 58 percent rise in female college student memberships this year, putting its overall membership of female college students at 44 percent. University of California Berkeley and University of California, Da­vis are among the top 50 fastest-growing sugar baby schools in the nation.

Sacramento City College has 65 female college student members of, with 22 new sign-ups just this year, according to Bermudo. These young women may not have made an arrangement yet, but they have created profiles on the site and are potentially on the prowl for a sugar daddy to help pay for tuition.

And it isn’t just tuition that needs to be covered. The average cost of living for a full-time student at Sacramento City College is $17,682, according to num­bers released by the Financial AidOffice. Attending a four-year university such as CSU Sacramento costs an average of $25,042 for the academic year ac­cording to the estimates released by its Financial Aid Office. Attending UC Davis will set a student back $31,199, ac­cording to the Finan­cial Aid Office.
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In other words, a college education can be prohibitively expen­sive and some students are getting resourceful about finding new ways to pay for it, or finding someone who is willing to pay for them.

“I will say I can understand the appeal for a lot of women,” says Dr. Gayle Pitman, a psychol­ogy professor at Sacramento City College. “I think it shows how pressed against the wall they are with the pressures of student loan debt and the pressures of finishing their education in the first place.”

Bermudo says this type of rela­tionship is becoming more attractive because it takes up less of a student’s time than a part-time job.

According to Pitman, the women are being smart about their options. These women have their needs taken care of for minimal intrusion on their time.

“I think a lot of women bring it down to a cost/benefit analysis,” says Pitman. “It’s sick, but if you think about it, it is a pretty attractive option.”

People who visit SeekingArrange­ know what they are getting into. When creating their profiles, the women state what they are looking for in terms of gifts or monthly allowance, and the men state their incomes and what they are looking for in terms of compan­ionship. does of­fer background checks for more secure dating, says Bermudo. Of course, dating online is always a risk.

“You are interpreting the infor­mation that is posted and creating an expectation in your mind about who this person is,” says Austin. “Your expecta­tions can be vastly destroyed.”

Dating in the real world is a risk people take all the time. People seek relationships with others to fulfill certain emotional needs, but people also seek relationships to fulfill certain monetary needs.

And society seems more comfortable with having it out in the open.

“How sad that we live in a society that men are willing to pay for compan­ionship,” says Pitman. “It says something about what we value in this culture, what we are willing to pay for and what we are willing to do for money.”

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